Infertility is tough. It really is. And the longer it goes on, the more tempting it can be to look for quick fixes that will help you to conceive in your next cycle. How many of us have had someone say to them, “Oh my cousin’s best friend’s colleague’s wife started drinking raspberry tea and she was pregnant the following month”?! The further you travel along this road of infertility, the harder it becomes emotionally and physically and whilst we will obviously yearn to find something that will help us reach our goal of becoming pregnant as soon as possible, it is important to remember it is not a race. If you both start to make positive changes to your diet and lifestyle, it can only have positive outcomes for your overall health, and hopefully your fertility too. These things will take a little time but it will be so worth the wait.
Whilst it may be commonly known that most men produce millions of new sperm every day, it may not be as well-known that these new sperm take about three months to fully mature and be ready for reproduction. If you are actively trying to conceive and have been having some difficulties, you might have undergone sperm analysis tests and an issue may have been discovered with the sperm’s mobility, morphology or the overall count. As a result, you may have been advised to make changes to your lifestyle in order to improve the quantity, and more importantly the quality, of your sperm. Your fertility journey can feel like a lengthy process and seeing the benefits of any diet and lifestyle changes you make are unfortunately of no exception here. Because of the lifecycle of sperm production, once a positive change, such as quitting smoking, has been made it takes about 3 months for those healthier sperm to appear in the ejaculate. Sperm quality is of greater importance for reproduction than quantity, and it is therefore important to ensure that a healthy lifestyle is followed: eating a good diet, exercising regularly and moderately to maintain a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco use, and consuming alcohol and caffeine in moderation are wise choices. It’s also important to note that too much heat on or near the testicles can be dangerous. Sperm counts and quality can be adversely affected by hot baths, hot tubs, and long trips to the sauna or steam room. Also, be mindful to not rest laptops directly on the lap but instead place a pillow or book in between.
One question that may be on men’s minds after discovering this information is: “Does this mean I shouldn’t ejaculate for three months to ensure the new sperm have the chance to benefit from the positive changes I am making?” This is not the case. As new sperm are being produced everyday it is not necessary to ‘hold in’ any to help maximise the benefits. Just be mindful of the fact that these things take time and you shouldn’t necessarily expect to see an instant impact on your fertility. Try to remember you are helping to prepare your sperm to be the strongest and healthiest they can be which takes a little time.
For women, the situation is slightly different in that we are born with all of the egg cells we will ever have (how amazing is that?!) and therefore don’t generate new ones throughout our lives. But the good news is we can make a difference to the quality of the eggs we do have! There are many factors that can have an impact on the health of the ovaries and eggs including environmental factors, hormones in the diet and stress just to name a few.
Much like the lifecycle of a sperm cell, the cycle of an egg in preparation for ovulation is around 90 days. During this 90-day period before an egg reaches full maturation, the eggs are changing and preparing for ovulation and are affected by both healthy or unhealthy influences during this time.
Contributing factors to egg health are:
- Blood flow
- Proper oxygenation
- Hormonal balance
- Nutritional intake
These are the factors you’ll want to focus on when increasing the health of your eggs. As we mentioned previously with regards to men’s sperm, the same applies for women in that once you have started to make changes to your diet and lifestyle it will take around three months for these to be beneficial for your fertility.
If you’d like help with deciding which changes will be most beneficial for you and your partner, make an appointment with the team here at The Natural Fertility Clinic. During your consultation we can help to create an action plan of ways for you both to improve your diet and lifestyle, along with offering a range of holistic treatments such as acupuncture, reflexology or massage, all of which will most certainly help to improve both egg and sperm quality over time. We are here to support you along your fertility journey, however long it may take.